Imogen, Obviously | Becky Albertalli


Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli

Releasing May 2, 2023 from HarperCollins Publishers; 432 pages

Content Warning: Homophobia, biphobia, toxic relationships

About the author: “Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta”  (Bio from Goodreads).

Find Becky Albertalli on the following platforms:

“And when she talks about the queer community, who does she mean? Who gets let in? Who gets shoved out? And what do you do with the fact that no two people seem to do queerness in quite the same way?”

Imogen Scott is about to graduate high school, has a favorite adverb (it’s obviously, obviously), and is straight. Obviously. Never mind that her favorite movie is But I’m a Cheerleader. Never mind that she dutifully shows up to every Pride Alliance meeting and is surrounded by queer friends. Never mind that when she meets Tessa, a cool college lesbian, she starts feeling… feelings. Point is, she’s just an Ally with a capital A. Otherwise, she would’ve known that she was queer much sooner, surrounded by as many queer people as she is. That’s what her friend Gretchen, says, after all, and she’d know, being unashamedly bisexual. Imogen is grateful that Gretchen’s always there to check her when she says something that’s a little problematic coming from a straight person and to make sure that she never oversteps into queer territory. Gretchen knows Imogen is straight, and Imogen can’t argue with that. Then why does she find herself flirting (can she even call it that?!) back with Tessa and staying up until 2am texting her? Maybe her sexuality isn’t so obvious after all…

From critically-acclaimed author Becky Albertalli comes yet another beautiful and hilarious queer coming-of-age novel. Even though I am a voracious reader of LGBTQ+ fiction, I’ve never read a story quite like Imogen’s before, where the focus of the book is on her struggle with identifying as bisexual while being perceived as not “queer enough” (whatever that means). The book unpacks what it truly means to be queer and acknowledges the unfortunate instances when some queer individuals invalidate the existence of others who do not fit their narrow definition of queerness. While the romance was undoubtedly cute—Tess is such a sweetheart!—Imogen’s growth throughout the novel is what stood out to me the most. She realizes the toxicity of her friendship with Gretchen, who keeps insisting that she’s straight because, apparently, she isn’t queer enough. Additionally, she grapples with her people-pleasing tendencies and the paralyzing self-doubt that tends to come with being a teenager on a journey to self-discovery. Imogen’s flaws are on full display, though the way she grows into herself by the end is inspiring to read and will doubtlessly empower many teenagers who pick up this book. 

As Imogen herself realizes, every queer experience is different, which is why books like Imogen, Obviously, and other queer coming-of-age stories are so crucial for every kid to have.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for sending us an ARC in

exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject

to change before final publication.)

PRR Community Outreach Lead, Aruna Sreenivasan